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The Effect of Gender, Age, and Race on the Use of Intravenous Drug Research Paper

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Updated: Feb 8th, 2019

Abstract

The use of intravenous drugs without doctors’ prescription has been on the rise in the United States. Drug addicts are currently injecting the drug into their blood stream in order to get instant effect. The research focused on some of the demographic factors that show prevalence in the usage of hard drugs.

The research used both the primary and secondary sources of data. Both sources of data were very clear on the fact that adolescents are more likely to engage in the usage of drugs. It was also clear from the two sources of data that race and gender are factors that can be used to determine prevalence of the usage of hard drugs.

Introduction

The use of intravenous drugs has been very common for medical purposes because it is the fastest way of introducing a drug into the body. Swartz (2012) defines intravenous drugs as, “Drugs that are injected directly into a blood vessel.” These drugs have been effective medically, but there has been a trend where people use such drug for purposes other than medication. Abuse of intravenous drugs is increasingly becoming common in this country.

Drug abusers are no longer finding it attractive to smoke hard drugs as was the case before. The more they get addicted to the drug, the more they realize that they need more of the substance into their body system. Direct injection of the drug into their blood has been considered as the most appropriate way of achieving the desired effect within their body. These people use syringes to inject the hard drugs into their blood system.

Research has confirmed that the use of intravenous drugs have massive negative effect on the users in various ways. According to Freeman (2002), abuse of intravenous drugs has been attributed to the rise of some of the most dreaded diseases such as HIV/AIDs. Users of such drugs would share syringe when injecting the substance into the body, and this makes it possible for the virus to spread to other users. Attempts by the government to help this population avoid such diseases has been met with controversy.

The government’s decision to distribute syringes to these addicts has been criticized as a sign that demonstrates the government supports the use of such drugs. Stakeholders have been struggling to come up with the most appropriate ways of addressing this issue. This research paper seeks to investigate the use of intravenous drugs based on gender, age and race within the United States.

Literature review

Drug abuse has been an issue that has raised a lot of attention within the society. According to Swartz (2012), there has been a need to fight drug abuse in the society, especially among the youth. This has attracted attention of various scholars who have been trying to explain the intrigues related to drug use.

Straussner (2003) notes that abuse of hard drugs is not only illegal as per the law of this country, but is also confirmed that it has serious negative consequences to the health of the abusers. Drug abuse has been varying based on age, gender, and race within the country (Freeman, 2002). The research will analyze abuse of intravenous drugs based on the three variables.

Gender

Researchers have tried to categorize drug abusers into age in order to analyze how abuse of drugs vary across the two groups of people. According to Straussner (2003), such approach helps in identifying the group that is worst affected, and defining the most appropriate strategy that can be targeted to them to help rehabilitate their character. The report by Swartz (2012) confirms that men are more likely to be abusers of drugs as compared to women.

This research interviewed men and women who were above 18 years of age at the time the interview was conducted. In this interview which involved 1000 respondents, it was confirmed that men are more inclined to take drugs without a doctor’s prescription than women. In this study, 12% of the female respondents confirmed that they have abused drugs, while 19.5% of the men confirmed that they had involved themselves into drug abuse at one time or the other.

The study by Swartz (2012) shows that men have higher dependency on drugs than women. This research found out that about 2% of the women who were interviewed were dependent on drugs, while the percentage of men dependent on drugs was about 4%. This clearly indicates that men are heavy users of hard drugs.

Age

Age was another variable that was used in order to narrow-down further in identifying some of the heavy users of hard drugs in this country. According to the research study done by Mass (2008), it is clear that age is one of the most important variables when analyzing abuse of IV drugs. The youth are the most affected group as most of the recent researches have confirmed that there is an increased rate of their usage of drugs. Mass (2008) says that any usage of drugs without prescription from the physician is considered abuse of drugs.

This scholar also clarifies that the use of any drug more than the amount prescribed by a physician or beyond the stated date is also considered as an abuse of drugs. The study shows that drug abuse always starts among the youths in high schools. Some of these adolescents start using hard drugs at tender age of 12 or 13 years. The study by Swartz (2012) shows that boys always start abusing drugs at a much tender age as compared to girls.

In this report, 30% of the respondents stated that they started abusing drugs at tender age of 13 years. 20% stated that they started abusing drugs at the age of 17 while 11% stated that they started abusing drugs at the age of 21 years and above. In this study, the researcher realized that when individuals started taking drugs at tender age, then chances would be very high that they would remain addicts in their entire lifetime irrespective of their gender.

This means that it would be easy to predict if an individual were to become a lifetime drug addict at an age of 21 years. If such a person had started abusing IV drugs at that tender age, then it would be likely that such an individual may remain a permanent abuser of drugs if rehabilitative measures are not taken.

Race

Researchers have gone further to analyze if there is any significant relationship between race and drug abuse in this society. Although some scholars have reported that drug use per given race is negligible, the reports from National Surveys on Drug Use and Health reported that there was a variation on the usage of drugs based on race.

The study shows that the prevalence of drug use has been on the rise among the Whites, from 11% in 2009, to 12% in 2011. For the Asian-Americans, the prevalence has remained stable, and so was the rate among the black Americans and other non-White races.

Hypotheses

In research, hypothesis plays an important role in defining the possible outcome of a research. In this paper, the researcher developed three hypothesis based on the findings of the research. The three hypotheses were developed based on the three independent variables that were found to affect the dependent variable of drug use.

The first hypothesis was focused on gender as a possible reason why people abuse drugs. The hypothesis stated as shown below.

H1o. Men are less likely to take intravenous drugs than women do.

The report from the review of literatures had indicated that men are more likely to abuse drugs than women. This hypothesis was therefore, based on that premise. The researcher would use response from the primary data in order to confirm this claim.

The second hypothesis was based on the premise that age played a major role in influencing the abuse of intravenous drugs. The second hypothesis stated as follows.

H2o. Those who start using drugs at an early age are not likely to become defendant on the drugs for their entire lifetime.

This hypothesis was developed based on the findings from the review of literature. It was clear from the literature that those who start using drugs at tender ages become addicted to the drugs, and therefore, are more likely to use the drugs for their entire lifetime.

The third hypothesis focused on the impact of race on the level of usage of drugs. It stated as follows.

H30. Difference in race shows no difference in the abuse of intravenous drugs.

The three hypotheses will be analyzed using primary data.

Methods

Every research applies a given research method in order to obtain relevant data, analyze that data, and arrive at a logical conclusion based on the analysis. In this research study, the researcher used both primary and secondary information and the principal sources of data. The secondary data was obtained from books, journal articles, and other reliable online sources.

The primary data sources were gathered from a sample population within the local community. The primary data was collected with the help of a questionnaire. In the questionnaire, the researcher was keen to capture various demographical factors, especially the three variables of age, gender, and race that had been isolated in the review of the literature.

These three variables were captured in the first section of the questionnaire. In the second section, the questionnaire captured information about the educational background of the respondents. It would be of interest to determine the views of the respondents regarding the use of hard drugs based on their level of education.

The questionnaires were physically delivered to the sample population. This decision was made after realizing that some of the respondents were heavy users of hard drugs, and therefore, could not be trusted to fill in the questionnaires independently in a desirable manner.

The respondent administered the questionnaire as a way of capturing important information about the respondents. This physical delivery was also considered appropriate because it facilitated face-to-face interaction with the respondents. The researcher used stratified sampling to select the sample population.

This means that interest groups were identified as strata, and in each stratum, simple random sampling was used to select the participants. The data obtained were analyzed used empirical tools. The researcher used SPSS to analyze data and to produce desired result in form of tables. The results was also presented in graphs and charts to enhance understanding of the information presented.

Results

The data that was collected from primary sources using the questionnaires were entered into SPSS spreadsheet and the resulting data presented in tabular form.

Gender

Data obtained bout relevance of gender in defining prevalence in the use of drugs was entered into SPSS and the following tables were obtained.

H1o. Men are less likely to take intravenous drugs than women do.

Case Processing Summary
Cases
Valid Missing Total
N Percent N Percent N Percent
Drugornot * What is your gender classification? Are you a male or female? 1818 37.1% 3083 62.9% 4901 100.0%
Drugornot * What is your gender classification? Are you a male or female? Crosstabulation
What is your gender classification? Are you a male or female? Total
MALE FEMALE
Drugornot yes Count 41 25 66
Expected Count 29.0 37.0 66.0
% within Drugornot 62.1% 37.9% 100.0%
no Count 759 993 1752
Expected Count 771.0 981.0 1752.0
% within Drugornot 43.3% 56.7% 100.0%
Total Count 800 1018 1818
Expected Count 800.0 1018.0 1818.0
% within Drugornot 44.0% 56.0% 100.0%
Chi-Square Tests
Value df Asymp. Sig. (2-sided) Exact Sig. (2-sided) Exact Sig. (1-sided)
Pearson Chi-Square 9.123a 1 .003
Continuity Correctionb 8.376 1 .004
Likelihood Ratio 9.061 1 .003
Fisher’s Exact Test .003 .002
Linear-by-Linear Association 9.118 1 .003
N of Valid Cases 1818
a. 0 cells (.0%) have expected count less than 5. The minimum expected count is 29.04.
b. Computed only for a 2×2 table

The minimum expected count was 29.04, but the actual count obtained was less than 5. This means that this null hypothesis is rejected.

Race

The collected data about race was computed into SPSS and the results displayed in the tables shown below.

Case Processing Summary
Cases
Valid Missing Total
N Percent N Percent N Percent
Drugornot * Whiteornot 1807 36.9% 3094 63.1% 4901 100.0%
Drugornot * Whiteornot Crosstabulation
Whiteornot Total
White Others
Drugornot yes Count 55 10 65
Expected Count 49.8 15.2 65.0
% within Drugornot 84.6% 15.4% 100.0%
no Count 1330 412 1742
Expected Count 1335.2 406.8 1742.0
% within Drugornot 76.3% 23.7% 100.0%
Total Count 1385 422 1807
Expected Count 1385.0 422.0 1807.0
% within Drugornot 76.6% 23.4% 100.0%
Chi-Square Tests
Value df Asymp. Sig. (2-sided) Exact Sig. (2-sided) Exact Sig. (1-sided)
Pearson Chi-Square 2.392a 1 .122
Continuity Correctionb 1.953 1 .162
Likelihood Ratio 2.619 1 .106
Fisher’s Exact Test .136 .077
Linear-by-Linear Association 2.391 1 .122
N of Valid Cases 1807
a. 0 cells (.0%) have expected count less than 5. The minimum expected count is 15.18.
b. Computed only for a 2×2 table

The minimum expected count was 15.18. However, the result shows that the count is less than 5. This means that the null hypothesis is rejected.

Age

The data obtained from the primary sources relevant to the third hypothesis was computed, and the result shown in the tables below obtained.

Case Processing Summary
Cases
Valid Missing Total
N Percent N Percent N Percent
Drugornot * agecut 1749 35.7% 3152 64.3% 4901 100.0%
Drugornot * agecut Crosstabulation
agecut Total
1 2 3 4
Drugornot yes Count 14 22 25 5 66
Expected Count 14.4 19.1 18.8 13.7 66.0
% within Drugornot 21.2% 33.3% 37.9% 7.6% 100.0%
no Count 368 485 473 357 1683
Expected Count 367.6 487.9 479.2 348.3 1683.0
% within Drugornot 21.9% 28.8% 28.1% 21.2% 100.0%
Total Count 382 507 498 362 1749
Expected Count 382.0 507.0 498.0 362.0 1749.0
% within Drugornot 21.8% 29.0% 28.5% 20.7% 100.0%
Chi-Square Tests
Value df Asymp. Sig. (2-sided)
Pearson Chi-Square 8.296a 3 .040
Likelihood Ratio 9.860 3 .020
Linear-by-Linear Association 1.637 1 .201
N of Valid Cases 1749
a. 0 cells (.0%) have expected count less than 5. The minimum expected count is 13.66.

The expected count was 13.66, but the count that was obtained is less than 5. This means that the alternative hypothesis is rejected.

Discussion

This research used both primary and secondary sources of information in order to arrive at the desired conclusion. The secondary sources of data acted as a foundation of this research. These are works done by other competent researchers and some have gone through rigorous reviews. The researcher was therefore able to use their works to have a clue on what the expected result in this research would be.

It is a fact that those who abuse hard drugs are well aware of the negative effects the drugs have on their body. It is therefore, very intriguing how these people ignore all the facts and go ahead to use such drugs even against the advice of doctors and the society in general. The results obtained from the primary data was compared closely with the results obtained from secondary sources in order to determine any contradiction or possible similarities.

The first hypothesis was focused on gender, and how it relates to the usage of drugs. It was clear from the secondary sources of information that men are more likely to use intravenous drugs than women.

The findings from primary sources proves this fact. The null hypothesis that was stating otherwise was rejected by a wide margin. Most of the respondents that were interviewed noted that gender was a factor when it comes to the issue of drugs. They were clear on the fact that men are more inclined to use drugs are compared to women.

The second hypothesis focused on the age as a factor that could determine usage of drugs. The review of literatures showed that adolescents are more prone to the usage of drugs. According to Swartz (2012), peer pressure was playing a major role in influencing adolescents into using drugs.

This scholar says that it is rare for an individual who passed adolescent stage without using drugs to become an addict. This means that most of those who start using IV drugs do so because of their need to be accepted by their peers. At this stage, one gets to understand self, and there would always be attempts by them to make themselves acceptable.

This scholar notes that this is the most appropriate stage of dealing with the issue of drug abuse. It was also clear that those who start using the drug at tender ages are more likely to be permanently hooked up in this vice even at their advanced stages. The results from the analysis of primary data confirmed this fact. It was clear that those who use drugs at tender ages are more likely to be permanently hooked in the usage of the drug in their future lives.

The third hypothesis looked at the impact of race on the usage of intravenous drugs. The results from secondary data demonstrated that race had a significant impact on the usage of drug. This data clarified that in the United States, the usage of drugs among the Whites has been rise for the past few years.

The secondary sources also showed that among other races, the rate of increase has remained constant. The results from analysis of primary data confirmed this. It rejected the hypothesis which was stating that race do not play any significant role in determining prevalence in the usage of drugs.

Conclusion

It is clear from the above analysis that there are three main variables which are directly related to the use of intravenous drugs without any prescription from a medical doctor. Both the primary and secondary sources of data confirmed that age was one of the main factors that determines prevalence in the usage of these drugs. Adolescents were more likely to engage in drug usage. The two sources of data also confirmed that gender was another factor.

Men are more likely to use hard drugs without doctor’s prescription. It was also clear from the analysis of primary and secondary sources of data that race was also a determinant of the prevalence of drug abuse. Although the Whites have been considered to be the population with the least percentage of drug abusers, this population is consistently on the rise, and if measures are not put in place, this percentage may increase.

References

Freeman, R. C. (2002). Handbook for conducting drug abuse research with hispanic populations. Westport: Praeger.

Mass, W. (2008). Teen drug abuse. San Diego: Lucent Books.

Straussner, S. L. A. (2003). Ethnocultural factors in substance abuse treatment. New York: Guilford Press.

Swartz, J. (2012). Substance abuse in America: A documentary and reference guide. Santa Barbara: Greenwood.

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